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Healthy fast food chain Freshii closes doors on Belfast store after eight months

Freshii opened its first UK store at Donegall Square West in Belfast back in March
Gareth McKeown

AN INTERNATIONAL healthy fast food chain has closed its only outlet in Northern Ireland after just eight months in operation.

Fast growing world restaurant brand Freshii closed the doors on its Belfast store in Donegall Square West a number of weeks ago after opening in March, but insists it remains committed to Northern Ireland.

This is despite firm plans for a further two outlets to open this year in Belfast and Newry failing to get off the ground.

Founded in 2005, Canadian chain Freshii has more than 300 stores in 85 cities across 20 countries, including seven in the Republic.

The company opened its first UK store in Belfast in March, creating 10 jobs and a month later announced a second store at Callendar Street in the city and a third in the Quays Shopping Centre, Newry, that was due to begin operations in the summer. The three restaurants were announced as part of ambitious plans for 10 Freshii outlets in shopping centres and major towns in the north, creating over 100 full and part-time jobs.

Speaking back in April Freshii CEO Dave O'Donoghue said the chain was aiming to “energise” the Northern Ireland palate and the company was on track to open up to 50 stores on the island of Ireland within five years.

“Freshii's core mission is to help people live healthier and better lives by making nutritious food convenient and affordable and the reaction in Ireland has been phenomenal so far. We are really excited about growing the Freshii brand in Northern Ireland – we are investing and creating over 100 jobs while satisfying consumer demand for healthy food.”

Speaking to the Irish News this week a spokesperson from Freshii said the company remains committed to Northern Ireland and that they have had a "great reaction" from customers. When asked about the Belfast store closure the company said the location was "not quite right" and they are looking at other locations in the city. The firm insists there are still plans in place to roll out more stores in the north and is "committed to Belfast".

"We love Belfast and can't wait to get back open again,"the spokesperson said.

Freshii has said it could open a new restaurant early next year, but the the timing of the move is dependant on a number of different factors.

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